Monday Musings: 3/30/2014 Spam Teriyaki Review

Spam Teriyaki Review

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

Can you believe March is almost over?  I’m already planning the April reviews and giveaways for the blog.

Spam Teriyaki Review  Spam is a great addition to the survival pantry, and I am quite fond of it for regular use.  I like the plain one the best, but also enjoy the other flavors as well – Bacon and Jalapeno.  I recently picked up a couple of new flavors:  Teriyaki and Chorizo.  We tried the Teriyaki one recently.  The short review…  not a fan.  It had a really dark color, which looked burnt by the time I cooked it thin sliced and crisp the way the family likes; it also had an artificial aftertaste which was a bit too much.  I still like Spam overall, just not the Teriyaki flavored ones.   I will let you know how the Chorizo one turns out.

Making my own sprays and moisturizers This week I’ll be whipping up my batches of personal care items instead of buying them:  moisturizer, deodorizing spray and may try making a scrub as well.   I have these two new bottles of peppermint and lavender from Insta Natural that I am going to try out.  As always, I will let you know how they turn out.  Having essential oils on hand gives you to freedom to make so many things that were previously store bought.

Now for the links…

The Price of Hyper-Cleanliness

37 Prepper Uses for Trash Bags

Does Cough CPR Work?

How to Plan Meals When Money is Tight

The Day and the Hour Are Unknown…But…

7 Survival Ideas You Never Thought About

12 Ways to Treat Indigestion – Naturally

Take care and have a great week everyone!

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Book Review: The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse: A Cookbook and Culinary Survival Guide

The Art of Eating Through the Zombie Apocalypse

 This post is by Bernie Carr,

I really did not know what to expect when I was invited to review The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse. But I was intrigued enough to want to read it so I agreed. I’m a fan of the zombie genre, enjoy watching The Walking Dead and read the book World War Z long before it was made into a movie.

When I received my review copy I was pleasantly surprised with the production quality. The book is nicely presented with full color illustrations and glossy pages. I started reading it and got even more interested, as I found the advice given to be sound and practical advice that applies not only to a zombie apocalypse, but also a long term grid down disaster. Just as the subtitle indicates, the book is indeed “a cookbook and culinary survival guide.” In short, it is for anyone who wants to continue eating well during TEOTWAWKI, whether caused by a zombie outbreak or a grid down disaster.

Here is a small sampling of what you’ll learn:

-How to find food and water in a disaster
-How to forage wild edibles
-Various ways to garden if you are in a small space trying to be discreet about it such as container gardening, wind farming, sprouting and a lot more.
-Preserving food such as canning, fermenting, drying, curing etc.
-Improvised cooking in the wild
-How to build a mud oven
-How to make your own sea salt

I also found the advice to be helpful: I liked that the author recommended packing a few spices in your bug out bag so food would not taste so bland. I also liked the section on growing food from trash, which I know really works. The book gave me a few more ideas to try. There is even a section on edible insects, which I hope I never have to rely on. The book balances good information with a lot of humor.

All in all, I really liked The Art of Eating through the Zombie Apocalypse. I think zombie fans, preppers and foodies alike would enjoy the humor.  It is a fun addition to your survival library.  It would make a great gift as well as a good conversation starter if you keep it in your kitchen and coffee table.  You might even get your non-prepared friends to realize it’s a good thing to be ready for anything.  Get yourself a copy – you’ll get a few laughs and learn a thing or two.

© Apartment Prepper 2015



Assemble a Personal Care Bucket

Assemble a Personal Care Bucket1

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Five gallon buckets that are commonly used for food storage can be used to organize and store other non food items.  They are very convenient and portable, and they stack well if you get the same types.  I find they are great storage containers for small spaces.

In an emergency, hygiene and personal care still need to be maintained for health reasons as well as morale.  Even if you never have an emergency, extra supplies means you never have to run to the store when it’s inconvenient – just use your stash and replace them the next time you go shopping.

I have already made a health supplies bucket but this time I wanted to cover how to make the Personal Care bucket.

1. Obtain a five gallon bucket with a lid. See this article on how to get five gallon buckets for free.

Personal Care Bucket

2.  Wash the bucket well with soap and water, and dry thoroughly.

3.  You do not need oxygen absorbers for most personal care items.

4.  Buy your items with a coupon or on sale, for the biggest savings.

What goes into a Personal Care Bucket?

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner (not essential but nice to have)
  • Soaps
  • Toothpaste and/or Baking Soda
  • Antibacterial gel
  • Sanitary napkins/tampons
  • Razors
  • Nail/toenail clippers, tweezers
  • Deodorant
  • Lotions
  • Alcohol
  • Mouthwash
  • Cotton balls and Q-tips
  • Essential oils:  peppermint, lavender and tea tree oil are good ones to have.

If you are so inclined, stash your backup makeup bag in there as well.  Toilet paper rolls with the middle cardboard removed would make good space fillers.  You can take soap out of packaging if you live in a dry climate.  I left the soaps in boxes, as the humidity tends to make soap get soft and slimy, and I don’t want it to get into the other items.

personal care items in a bucketTailor the contents of the bucket according to who would be using the contents-if you have a baby in the family, then pack baby supplies such as tear free baby shampoo, baby oil, lotion, cloth diapers (disposables may just be too bulky, but you can throw in a few as space fillers if you use them).  Pay attention to the weight and do not overstuff the bucket, as the handle may not hold up or the lid may not shut if you overfill it.

Type up a list of contents and tape it to the inside of the lid.  Label the bucket and date.  I usually note the date I packed the bucket, so I have an idea how long it’s been in storage.  As with other goods, rotate your items to avoid waste.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

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Monday Musings: 3/23/2015 Happy Spring!

Monday Musings 3222015 Happy Spring

This post is by Bernie Carr,

Welcome to another Monday Musings, where we share interesting links about all things preparedness, as well as updates on the blog.

First the blog updates…

Quoted on Prepperzine  Yours truly was invited to comment on the one thing most overlooked by preppers –  If you’ve read the blog for some time, I’ve written about never having enough of this stuff before.  Check out the responses here:

8 Preparedness Experts Share The ONE Thing Most Overlooked By Preppers


It’s been a couple of weeks since the last Monday Musings update.  We have had two giveaways since!  The winner of The Organic Canner by Daisy Luther was Karen who commented:

“I haven’t tried canning yet. I admit I’m petrified to even try it, although I know it’s a skill I need to learn and master. I just got a water bath canner but do not have a pressure canner. Obviously, I need assistance!”

We also had a great response to the giveaway for Aftermath:  A Story of Survival.   The winner is John who said:

I have very few imminent concerns of societal collapse due to the economy. Whatever economic turmoil is in our future, it seems unlikely to cause an end to civilization. The greatest economic collapse in recorded history was The Great Depression. In the United States in a span from 1929 to 1934 unemployment went from 3.8% to 25%. There were runs on the bank, but society didn’t collapse. People didn’t riot en masse and tear down the basic fabric of society. The government didn’t unravel leaving the populous to fend for themselves in lawless chaos. Since then, the highest level of unemployment came at the end of 1982, when it hit 10.8%, though the 2008 collapse made a run and topped out at 10% in October of 2009. By the end of 2010 the unemployment rate has steadily decline and is currently at 5.5%, with 5% being optimal, economically speaking if not optimal for the millions of people that number leaves unemployed.

If a similar depression occurred today, our world would certainly cease to exist as we currently know it. Credit would dry up, we wouldn’t be buying or leasing brand new SUVs every couple of years and buying $250,000 homes on $50,000 salaries. We wouldn’t think $6 for a cup of coffee to be an acceptable expenditure of our money. We would stop paying attention to famous people who gained their notoriety through sex tapes, and pay better attention to what really matters, our families, friends, and communities. We’d stop buying frivolous things such as 65? LED smart TVs and instead spend our money on the basics, the essentials. And finally we would no longer look down our noses at jobs like harvesting crops and mopping floors. I highly doubt, however, that we would tear ourselves apart.

I feel a more imminent threat nationally and globally will come in the form of natural disasters. While hurricanes are generally our most devastating regularly occurring natural disasters, and can cause localized collapses of governance, the rule of law, and economies, they are hardly society killers, much less planetary disasters. I believe it is important to be prepared for these short-term scenarios, but It’s the rare events one must really be scared of and prepared for.

So I’m concerned about surviving short-term natural disasters as well as long term disasters like the eruption of one of the super volcanoes, a polar shift, or a coronal mass ejection a la the 1859 Carrington Event. This is the most likely event in my book, and we barely dodged this bullet in 2012, and almost no one knows about it. What made the CME in 1859 so devastating, relatively speaking, was that the CME hit our magnetic field at the perfect angle for transferring the maximum amount of its energy to our planet. This had the effect of shutting down the Victorian Age’s telegraph network. The energy was so high in some places it set the equipment, and subsequently the building the equipment was housed, on fire. An even such as Carrington would be wholly devastating to our society today.

My preparations have focused on short-term survival here at home due to localized natural disasters and I am now turning my focus on long-term preparations, bugging out, and self-sufficiency in a world we would no longer recognize.

Book Writing continues…

As I mentioned in a previous update, I am still working on my next book, The Penny-Pincher Prepper: Save More, Spend Less and Get Prepared for Any Disaster due out this October.   Still posting on Apartment Prepper and actively reading all emails and comments.  I appreciate your continued support!

Now for the links!

A Practical Look at the Economy and What You Can Do To Prepare

Recycling Coffee on Your Homestead

How Do I Store That? Dried Herbs

How To Clean Your Glass Cooktop (The Non-Toxic Way)

Survival Training for Children

8 Tips to Live Like the Pioneers

Take care and have a great week everyone!


© Apartment Prepper 2015

Pest Control and Prepping

Pest control and prepping

Tomorrow is the official start of the spring season, and with the pretty flowers, spring showers come the bugs… lots of bugs.  I’ve seen some huge bugs here in Texas, and though I know many insects are helpful, and can even serve as food, I am not fond of bugs.

Pest control is not probably not one of the top ten survival and preparedness steps you will take to get started but it is still an unavoidable part of any prepper’s plan.  In a grid down situation, the presence of pests can only get worse, as sanitation worsens when trash pickup gets interrupted and vacant buildings and homes become more common.  Pests can carry diseases cause allergies for many people and can ruin your food storage.  This article discusses protecting your home from insects, and in another article we covered protecting your food storage and supplies from pests.

What got me started on this topic

The other night I was horrified to find a huge cockroach on the kitchen floor.  This was no ordinary roach, it was one of those huge roaches that are usually found outside.  Some people call them tree roaches, I call them all nasty and disgusting creatures.  I am very fastidious about keeping the house pest free and I have not seen one of these inside in a long while.  I talked to the building manager and they have a pest control company spray outside but he did say this spring has seen an explosion in the bug population.

Apartment units are vulnerable

Because you share one or more walls with another unit, insects can creep in between homes.  You may be very conscientious about not leaving dirty dishes or food lying around but there is no telling how your neighbors’ habits are.  Be vigilant:

  • Inspect corners and walls to make sure there are no holes that can serve as passages for insects.  If you find any, call your building manager or plug them up yourself using caulk.
  • Be extra wary when you see neighbors moving in or out:  the pests may try to invade your space when the next door unit is vacated or fumigated.  You will need to use preventive measures to keep insects coming from elsewhere out of your home.
  • Avoid clutter.  Pests find a lot of places to hide in a cluttered area.  Remove old magazines and newspapers, keep sinks free of dirty dishes and keep your garage free of junk.  Take your trash out to the garbage chute or dumpster as soon as possible.  I’ve seen other tenants accumulate bags in their garage-that is a sure way to attract pests.
  • Bugs are not the only pests you need to watch out for-there are also rats and mice that can potentially invade your space.

There are a couple of ways you can use to control  pests:  commercial insecticides or natural remedies.

When choosing a pesticide, consider three main factors:  The first factor is safety:  Follow safety precautions on the package to protect people and pets.  The second factor to check for is how long it will continue to work and kill pests.  The third factor is choosing what type of pesticide to target against the specific pest.  Read the label closely to find out what pests will be eliminated by the pesticide.  If you have a wasp problem in your apartment balcony, then check the label to make sure the product will get rid of wasps.  It may sound self explanatory, but I have made the mistake of picking up the wrong product and ended up running back to the store to replace it.  (Disclaimer:  I am not advocating a specific method of pest control, nor am I an expert on pesticides.  If you or your family have chemical sensitivities, then avoid chemical pesticides and try the natural route.)

Here are a few tips to eliminate pests:

  • Before you start spraying, clear out the contents of cupboards or cabinets.  Wear gloves and put on a painters mask to avoid touching and/or inhaling dust and fumes.
  • Spray cracks and crevices with the pesticide, then leave it to dry.  Vacuum the area to remove dead bugs.
  • As we discussed with cracks or holes in dividing walls above, seal any cracks and holes that pests can crawl through with caulk.
  • Spray along the outside walls and doors, preventing entry to your unit.
  • If you are moving into a new unit, consider using a room fogger to eliminate any pests before you move any of your belongings.  You must follow safety precautions when using room foggers.  Protect your carpet or floor by lining it with newspapers under the can.  Make sure you are using the correct size of fogger for the room you are fumigating.  Do not use near heat or ignition sources  such as pilot lights or gas appliances.  For additional safety tip when using room foggers, read the EPA’s Safety Precautions for Total Release Foggers.

Here are a few natural remedies to protect your home from pests:

1.  Soap spray.  Fill an empty spray bottle with water and add two teaspoons of dishwashing liquid.  Shake well and spray on pests such as ants and other flying insects.  Soap spray dries out their exoskeleton and kills them.  Soap spray works best with soft bodied insects.

2.  Garlic.  Pests do not like garlic.  Leave a few cloves of garlic under the sink or where pests are known to frequent and they will avoid the area.  Taking garlic pills are said to deter mosquitoes from biting you, but I have not personally tested this.

3.  Ants will not cross a line of cayenne pepper, and cucumber peels are also known to be ant deterrents.

4.  To get rid of roaches, fill an empty squirt bottle with Borax and sprinkle along base boards and corners.

5.  If you have a flea problem, sprinkle Borax on carpet and leave for 20 minutes.  Vacuum the carpet thoroughly.  Do not sprinkle directly on pets.

I don’t really prefer using chemical pesticides but occasionally find the need to use them.  I use a combination of both methods and recommend you research what works best for you.

Avoid these Prepping Mistakes

Avoid these Prepping Mistakes

I started this blog just a few months right after I started preparing for any emergencies.  Now that I’ve had a little bit of time trying things out, I thought I’d share some of our less than stellar results.  Hopefully you will avoid some of the mistakes that we’ve made.

  • Not keeping track of expiration dates.  I feel I have to keep reminding myself and others to keep track of those expiration dates.  I know these are not firm dates, and many items keep past the posted date.  However, some packaged foods really do not taste so good even when slightly past the date.  One example is the Dole Fruit Cups.  I tried eating one that was past the date.  I did not get sick but the stuff did not taste good– it had a waxy taste that is not there when I item is fresh.   At best, you will end up with off-tasting food, but it could be worse.  Take a sharpie and rewrite the date where it is visible and keep rotating those packages!
  • Not keeping a good inventory of items.   Storing stuff in an apartment is challenging and many times, we are forced to stash things in different spots around the unit.  When supplies are stored separately, it is easy to lose track of what you have.   You may not find your emergency items when you most need them most.  Or, you may forget you already have an item and wind up buying multiples.  It’s good to have redundancy, but not if you lost track of what you have.  Keep a written inventory of what you have including their locations.
  • Storing water in flimsy containers.  I’ve already had an accident with a water jug once, and nearly flooded my closet another time.   Don’t make these same mistakes.  Store water in disinfected soda bottles as they are more sturdy, or those new BPA free plastic containers.
  • Buying equipment without checking if you have room.  I’ve received email from readers who bought big ticket items such as generators without checking where they would store it, or even if their building allows these items.  Similarly, I’ve seen neighbors bringing a big barbecue grill then finding out our lease does not allow grills due to fire hazard rules.  Read your lease before making large purchases and decide in advance where you would store things before buying them.
  • Taking security for granted.  Many rentals are considered “security apartments” and many tenants take this for granted.  I see many of my neighbors leaving their garage doors open all day; or being very obvious when they are going on vacation.  One security failure for preppers is having deliveries of items in labeled and highly visible boxes.  In our building, the deliveries are made at the leasing offices, so it gets very obvious who’s getting new stuff.  When ordering, find out from customer service what type of boxes will be delivered and keep track of your delivery dates.
  • Keeping supplies out in plain view.  A couple of issues about apartment living is the proximity of everyone around, and the access various people have to your living space.  Keep your blinds closed so that no one passing by your window can peak and see all the goodies you have around.  Be selective about whom you grant access to your unit.  Some are unavoidable such as when you have maintenance issues, but some can be avoided.  Our apartment has a pest control crew and I have denied them access in the past.

We’ve all had those “I sure wish I had known better” moments.   All we can do is continue to learn.  Hopefully these tips will keep you from making the same mistakes.

Aftermath A Story of Survival Review and Giveaway


This post is by Bernie Carr,

I finished reading Aftermath A Story of Survival in record time – it was that much of a page turner.  In case you’re not familiar with her, the author, LeAnn Edmondson, writes The Homestead Dreamer where she chronicles her journey to a more self-sufficient life.  Before I get too far, let me just give you an idea what this book is about:

When the picture of a dog taking a dump shows up on every computer and cell phone screen with the words, “IT Happens,” Jimmy Walker knew things would never be the same again. What he didn’t know was just how bad it would be. Bugging out to his cabin in the Manistee National Forest, Jimmy figured he would ride out the storm there. He knew there would be trouble from the criminal element and those who had not prepared but hadn’t counted on the United Nations moving in and gathering people up to be ‘relocated,’ too. Banding together with others in the valley, Jimmy works to meet the threats that seem to come from all directions at once. (from Amazon)

The action starts soon enough when “all hell breaks loose” at the plant where our main character works.  By the end of the first chapter when Jimmy has to make a decision which direction to go, I knew I was hooked.  I could place myself right at the crossroads and trying to figure out what to do next if I were in his shoes.

I don’t want to give away that story but this gives you an idea.  I like the straightforward writing style and the steady clip of the story.  Mr. Apt Prepper read it as well and he also enjoyed the book.  I will say thought that we had a few spirited discussions in the Apt Prepper household, as we did not always agree about certain actions in the book.  Mr. Apt Prepper felt the group took too much time planning the details of their rescue efforts; while I agreed with the characters in the book on how they proceeded.  He also felt the women in the group, tended to get the upper hand in the decision making, and was just fine with that.  We both agreed we would love to read more about these characters and hope to see more of the author’s work.

Aftermath will take hold of your imagination and not let go until you finish it.  It is a good read and I recommend the book.

Now for the giveaway:
I am happy to add that the author LeAnn Edmondson is providing a copy to our readers as a giveaway.  One lucky winner will be chosen via a random drawing.  To enter, please answer the following questions in the comments:
What do you feel is the biggest threat looming over the country at this time?  How are you preparing?
The winner* will be chosen at a random “Pick a Giveaway Winner” drawing on Saturday, March 21st at 8 pm Central.

*Winners will be notified via email. 

*Winner must reply to email notification within 48 hours or another winner will be drawn.

© Apartment Prepper 2015

Second Chance for Your Money and Your Life: Fix your Finances Before it’s Too Late


Part of being ready for anything includes financial preparedness, a subject which we have touched upon in Apartment Prepper.  Having lost money in the Great Recession, I myself am concerned about the possibility of another possible crash.  Just reading some recent articles indicate all is not well in the financial world:

The Great Middle Class Extinction: “95% of New Homes Built for Rich or Poor”

Insider Alan Greenspan Warns of Explosive Inflation: “Tinderbox Looking For a Spark”

When I received an invitation to read Robert Kiyosaki’s latest book, Second Chance for Your Money or Your Life I was instantly interested.  As part of the middle class, I sometimes feel I am running on a treadmill financially:  working harder every year, but never gaining any ground. I can see the “writing on the wall” and know that we need all the help we can get to improve our finances and prepare for another potential global financial crisis.

To sum up what the book is about:   Robert Kiyosaki’s new book Second Chance is a guide to understanding how the past will shape the future and how you can use Information Age tools and insights to create a fresh start. This book is a guide to facing head-on the dangers of the crises around us – and steps and tips for seizing the opportunities they present.

An Eye-Opener

To explain what’s really going on, the book gives some historical background on how the country got to where it is financially.  It describes how various administrations in the government instituted policies over the years that favored the very rich but undermined the middle class. I like that the book is non-partisan; the author feels both parties are equally at fault for irresponsible fiscal policies.

The author shows a way of looking at things that seem to be the opposite of conventional thinking.  Just a few examples:

  • Your home is not an asset – it is a liability.
  • Debt can be good.
  • The educational system trains people to become wage and debt slaves.

There is so much more to learn – you’ll have to read this book to get the full scope.

As you read the book, think about how you can apply the advice to your own situation.  Frugality and simple living are not ideas you will find in this book; however, I feel these principles can coexist and work in tandem with the book’s premises.

The book gives a lot of actionable advice anyone can start practicing.

  • Even if you have a full time job, start creating passive income sources on the side.
  • Learn how to acquire assets and minimize liabilities.
  • Physical gold and silver are a good hedge against a financial crash.
  • You can become prosperous by filling a need and serving others.

Right now, there is a risk of another possible financial downturn, but no one knows when it could happen.  If we are lucky, we may have another year or more to prepare.  Take the time to educate yourself and take steps to improve yourself financially.  Though the book will not give you an exact road map to achieve your goals-only you can decide what’s right for you, it will give you some tools and knowledge you can start developing now.

(A big thank you to the folks at Rich Dad for providing a review copy of the book, and making it possible for me to share this with you!)

Click here for more information about Second Chance for Your Money or Your Life



Myths about Cell Phone Emergency Uses

Myths about Cell phone Emergency Uses - Copy

Over the years, I’ve collected a series of emails about cell phones’ emergency uses and finally got a chance to research and test them.

The following tips sounded so promising but turned out to be myths after all:

  1. If you get locked out of your call, call someone at home and have them find your spare key.  Sound the clicker to unlock your cell phone from afar.  I first tried this by parking the car a few doors away.  It seemed to work but it turned out the normal clicker radius still covered where I was parked.   Once I parked the car a few blocks away this did not work.   I started to research this online and it turns out the Mythbusters team tried it too and this idea was “Busted”   You cannot unlock your car using your cell phone.
  2. Dial 1-1-2 anywhere in the world to get emergency help.   I researched this one and there may be some areas (such as a few places in Europe) where 112 will direct your call to the emergency line but it is not universally true everywhere.  Don’t count on it, 9-1-1 is still the number to call for emergencies.
  3. Dialing *3370# when your cell battery is low will “unlock” reserve battery power.  Not true, you need to keep your cell phone charged at all times.
  4. If you press *#06#  you can find out your secret cell phone code; keep the code in case it ever gets stolen so you can disable it remotely.  The easy way to disable a stolen cell phone is to call your cell phone service provider to report the theft.  Give them your phone number and they will take care of it.  That’s why it’s a prudent habit to keep a written list of important phone numbers in a safe place.

This one is TRUE:  You can call 1-800-FREE411 for free directory assistance.

I tried the number 1-800-FREE411 (1-800-373-3411) and found that is works.  You do have to listen to an ad that tells you to click the * if you want to follow the ad – don’t click or you will be redirected – then the menu comes up.

Another one that is TRUE Inactive cell phones can still call 9-1-1

The one thing that is true is you can use a charged cell phone, even though it no longer has cell service, to make an emergency call.  However, the cell phone must be properly charged to make the 911 call.  (Do not call 911 just to test it.)  Don’t throw away that old cell phone that you just disconnected from service:

  • Keep it (along with the charger) in your glove box as a spare cell for emergency
  • Save the phone and the charger; give it to someone to use as an emergency phone.
  • Donate it.  AT&T and other cell stores have a donation bin.



10 Unusual Foods You Should Have in Your Pantry

 10 Unusual Foods You Should Have in Your Pantry - Copy

By Lisa Bedford, The Survival Mom

This post original appeared in The Survival Mom

Modern Americans probably have more food choices than any other group in the history of the planet Earth. I was told about a Japanese student who went to an American grocery store for cereal. Seeing the selection in the aisle was so overwhelming they went home without it that day.

For people used to such plenty and variety, beans and rice alone is clearly not a long-term menu plan. But keeping that much variety in one home (or even one store!) is not realistic. Worse yet, it can be hard to figure out a way to store some of our “regular” foods for the long-term so we can maintain a semi-normal diet in an emergency.

So, what “unusual” foods should you consider adding to your pantry? The products listed below are all shelf-stable, meaning they do not need to be refrigerated, and are available from companies such as Thrive Life, Augason Farms, and Ready Reserve Foods.

Survival Mom’s Top 10 Unusual Food Storage Foods

1. Shortening powder 

This product is a sure-fire way of having shortening on hand for all your baking without having to worry about it going rancid. It’s a necessity for making pie crusts and biscuits. Even more important, you can sprinkle some in a hot skillet, and when it melts, you can pan fry! What a concept!

2. Powdered peanut butter 

Peanut butter has an amazingly long shelf life, even after it’s been opened, but powdered peanut butter is still very useful. Every morning I add a tablespoon or so to my protein drink. It adds all the flavor and nutrition of peanuts without any of the fat found in peanut butter. You can even get it with chocolate already mixed in!

3. Butter powder

This product won’t give you exactly the same flavor of butter and it doesn’t quite melt, but it’s still a handy addition to your pantry. Once reconstituted and chilled, it hardens and has the same consistency of refrigerated butter.

4. Tomato powder

The first time I read about this product, I said, “Huh??” Now I think it’s indispensable because it’s a cost-effective way of having tomato paste and tomato sauce on demand and save vast amounts of space at the same time, and it’s easy enough to make yourself.

5. TVP (your choice of flavors)

I know Textured Vegetable Protein isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it comes in handy when you want to add a little more protein to a casserole or soup. Just a handful can add the flavor of chicken or taco meat (a little can go a long way), and you can’t beat the price.

6. Freeze-dried cheese 

You can still enjoy cheese enchiladas while fending off zombies with this great product! I first sampled FD cheddar cheese a few months ago and was amazed by how beautifully it melts.

7. Powdered cheese 

When you buy this in bulk, you have the main ingredient (besides macaroni) for mac-and-cheese but also cheese sauces for veggies, casseroles, and the all-important survival food, nachos!

8. Freeze-dried grapes 

Yes, grapes. Canned grapes have never quite caught on (ewwww!), dehydrated grapes are raisins, but FD grapes have the same color, shape, size and flavor as fresh. They’re just crunchy, and they make a great, healthy snack. Once opened, though, they will absorb moisture in the air and go from crunchy to sticky and chewy. You may want to repackage them in canning jars to retain the crunchy texture.

9. Dehydrated sour cream 

Now, this won’t give you that wonderfully cool dollop you’ve come to expect, but when you make a dish that calls for sour cream, this product does just fine. Add some to mashed potatoes or a creamy casserole, and you’ll never know the difference.

10. Freeze-dried cottage cheese

This was one of the first ‘survival’ foods we purchased. Because we had young kids, we wanted to make sure we had plenty of Vitamin D-dense foods. It sounds strange, but it’s actually quite good when it’s reconstituted and chilled. If the grid is down and you want homemade lasagna, that shouldn’t be a problem with this and freeze-dried mozzarella cheese on hand!

These 10 unusual foods will go a long way toward letting your family diet stay closer to normal in a disaster.


Lisa Bedford is The Survival Mom. She is the author of the best-selling book, Survival Mom: How to Prepare Your Family for Everyday Disasters and Worst Case Scenarios.  You can read all about it on her Harper Collins author page.